“The Graveyard Book,” based on Neil Gaiman’s bestselling book of the same name (which was a spooky reworking of Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book”), is back from the great beyond. The Disney project, which has been developed by various filmmakers since 2009, has a new director in Marc Forster (“Quantum of Solace,” “World War Z”), TheWrap has confirmed.
Forster’s producing partner Renée Wolfe will produce through their 2Dux2 banner along with Gil Netter. Ben Browning is also producing. David Magee is the latest writer who has been brought on to adapt Gaiman’s book.
Originally published in 2008, Gaiman’s book was widely praised and won several prestigious awards including England’s Carnegie Medal, the Newbery Medal and the Hugo Award for Best Novel. Almost immediately after its release the story, which follows an orphan who grows up in the graveyard and instead of a chatty panther and boisterous bear, is raised by various supernatural creatures, was intended for adaptation. In 2009 the rights were secured by the then-Weinstein-led Miramax, who hired Irish filmmaker Neil Jordan to write and direct. In 2010 Chris Columbus’ 1942 Pictures joined the production to help with international distribution.
In 2012 Walt Disney Pictures acquired the rights and tasked Henry Selick, the director of “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” to adapt it as an ambitious stop-motion project. After Selick fell out with Disney over his costly stop-motion animated project “The Shadow King” (earmarked to be Pixar’s first stop-motion feature at its new Cinderbinder offshoot), “The Graveyard Book” was orphaned once again. In 2013 it was announced that Ron Howard would take over directorial duties, this time as a live-action feature (with animated elements). Forster’s version will undoubtedly be a live-action/animation hybrid not unlike his “Christopher Robin,” which he made for Disney in 2018.
Expect more news about the “Graveyard Book” adaptation coming out of D23 Expo, Disney’s giant fan event, in September.
Deadline was the first to report the news.